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Family of missing Durango hiker Jim Shadid share thoughts about the search

Daughter says La Plata County Search and Rescue will have a map for volunteer search teams to follow
Jim Shadid’s family describes him as man who loves the outdoors and the mountains. (Courtesy of Jamie Shadid)

Missing Durango hiker Jim Shadid’s family members say they are coming to peace with whatever the outcome is during this upcoming weekend’s search.

Countless efforts from multiple search and rescue agencies have been taken since Shadid, 79, went missing on Sept. 3. The family is grateful for the efforts made by search-and-rescue teams and the community.

About 100 volunteers participated in the search last week, in addition to rescue teams. Now, a team of 25 search-and-rescue team members this weekend will hike into territory that hasn’t been searched previously to look for the missing Durangoan. Shadid was last seen hiking between Little Elk Creek Trail and Elbert Creek Road.

Multiple helicopters, bloodhounds and drones were used in the search efforts by both volunteers and search-and-rescue officials.

On Tuesday, the search status for Shadid had changed to a search-and-recovery mission.

“We believe that La Plata County Search and Rescue has done an absolutely incredible job,” said Jamie Shadid, Jim’s daughter. “It’s really mind blowing all of the resources that they pulled and their expertise.”

Shadid went hiking around 11 a.m. Sept. 3 to scout Elk in the Elbert Creek area, near Line Canyon. His wife, Marilyn, said that it wasn’t an area that he hiked around often. Shadid has been hunting since he was 12 years old, and he’s been living in Durango for over 20 years.

Marilyn Shadid said her husband studied trail maps religiously before heading out on the trails, adding that his intention was to check out the trail, quickly come back to grab lunch and take his pack, which had all of his gear. But with about 20 minutes left in the hike, he never returned.

“Everything was in a pack that he was going to take with him after lunch,” she said.

The two have been married for 56 years, and Marilyn said Jim always loved the mountains.

JIm retired from being a dentist in Wichita, Kansas, 20 years ago with the desire to move to Durango because of its access to outdoor recreation, Jamie said.

“He was very familiar with hiking, backpacking, hunting and very experienced in the wilderness,” she said.

Skiing at Purgatory Resort is among one of his favorite activities, and he became passionate about pickleball in recent years. The Shadids are still hopeful about finding Jim, but understand the reality of the situation.

“Of course, we would like to find our father, but the reality is that it’s been 10 days, and he didn’t have anything with him,” Jamie said. “We know that he’s in his happy place in the mountains.”

As hunting season approaches, however, the Shadids also want people to be on the lookout for anyone in the Elbert Creek area who may appear lost or missing.

Furthermore, the family told The Durango Herald that La Plata County Search and Rescue will be offering a digital map volunteers can use to look for Jim. The map allows for people to check off surrounding areas where they have looked for him.

A map will be available online at findjimnow.com website once it’s developed.

“We are eternally grateful for how the Durango community rallied to look for our dad,” Jaime said.

Jim was last seen wearing a tan “safari” hat and likely wearing long khaki pants. He is 5-foot-6 and weighs about 140 pounds.

La Plata County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Chris Burke told the Herald on Tuesday that search team members are still treating the search as if Jim is alive, despite the change in mission status.

Anyone with information about Jim’s whereabouts is asked to call La Plata County Search and Rescue at 385-2900.


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